BibliaTodo Commentaries


Benson Joseph
Judges 1

1. It happened after the death of Yehoshua, the children of Yisra'el asked of the LORD, saying, Who shall go up for us first against the Kena`anim, to fight against them?

2. The LORD said, Yehudah shall go up: behold, I have delivered the land into his hand.

3. Yehudah said to Shim`on his brother, Come up with me into my lot, that we may fight against the Kena`anim; and I likewise will go with you into your lot. So Shim`on went with him.

4. Yehudah went up; and the LORD delivered the Kena`anim and the Perizzi into their hand: and they struck of them in Bezek ten thousand men.

5. They found Adoni-Bezek in Bezek; and they fought against him, and they struck the Kena`anim and the Perizzi.

6. But Adoni-Bezek fled; and they pursued after him, and caught him, and cut off his thumbs and his great toes.

7. Adoni-Bezek said, *Seventy kings, having their thumbs and their great toes cut off, gathered [their food] under my table: as I have done, so God has requited me.* They brought him to Yerushalayim, and he died there.

8. The children of Yehudah fought against Yerushalayim, and took it, and struck it with the edge of the sword, and set the city on fire.

9. Afterward the children of Yehudah went down to fight against the Kena`anim who lived in the hill country, and in the South, and in the lowland.

10. Yehudah went against the Kena`anim who lived in Chevron (now the name of Chevron before was Kiryat-Arba); and they struck Sheshai, and Achiman, and Talmai.

11. From there he went against the inhabitants of Devir. (Now the name of Devir before was Kiryat Sepher.)

12. Kalev said, He who strikes Kiryat Sepher, and takes it, to him will I give `Akhsah my daughter as wife.

13. `Otni'el the son of Kenaz, Kalev's younger brother, took it: and he gave him `Akhsah his daughter as wife.

14. It happened, when she came [to him], that she moved him to ask of her father a field: and she alighted from off her donkey; and Kalev said to her, What would you?

15. She said to him, Give me a blessing; for that you have set me in the land of the South, give me also springs of water. Kalev gave her the upper springs and the lower springs.

16. The children of the Keni, Moshe' brother-in-law, went up out of the city of palm trees with the children of Yehudah into the wilderness of Yehudah, which is in the south of `Arad; and they went and lived with the people.

17. Yehudah went with Shim`on his brother, and they struck the Kena`anim who inhabited Tzefat, and utterly destroyed it. The name of the city was called Chormah.

18. Also Yehudah took `Aza with the border of it, and Ashkelon with the border of it, and `Ekron with the border of it.

19. The LORD was with Yehudah; and drove out [the inhabitants of] the hill country; for he could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.

20. They gave Chevron to Kalev, as Moshe had spoken: and he drove out there the three sons of `Anak.

21. The children of Binyamin did not drive out the Yevusi who inhabited Yerushalayim; but the Yevusi dwell with the children of Binyamin in Yerushalayim to this day.

22. The house of Yosef, they also went up against Beit-El; and the LORD was with them.

23. The house of Yosef sent to spy out Beit-El. (Now the name of the city before was Luz.)

24. The watchers saw a man come forth out of the city, and they said to him, Show us, we pray you, the entrance into the city, and we will deal kindly with you.

25. He shown them the entrance into the city; and they struck the city with the edge of the sword; but they let the man go and all his family.

26. The man went into the land of the Chitti, and built a city, and called the name of it Luz, which is the name of it to this day.

27. Menasheh did not drive out [the inhabitants of] Beit-Shean and its towns, nor [of] Ta`nakh and its towns, nor the inhabitants of Dor and its towns, nor the inhabitants of Yivle`am and its towns, nor the inhabitants of Megiddo and its towns; but the Kena`anim would dwell in that land.

28. It happened, when Yisra'el had grown strong, that they put the Kena`anim to forced labor, and did not utterly drive them out.

29. Efrayim didn't drive out the Kena`anim who lived in Gezer; but the Kena`anim lived in Gezer among them.

30. Zevulun didn't drive out the inhabitants of Kitron, nor the inhabitants of Nahalol; but the Kena`anim lived among them, and became subject to forced labor.

31. Asher didn't drive out the inhabitants of `Akko, nor the inhabitants of Tzidon, nor of Achlav, nor of Akhziv, nor of Chelbah, nor of Afik, nor of Rechov;

32. but the Asheri lived among the Kena`anim, the inhabitants of the land; for they did not drive them out.

33. Naftali didn't drive out the inhabitants of Beit-Shemesh, nor the inhabitants of Beit-`Anat; but he lived among the Kena`anim, the inhabitants of the land: nevertheless the inhabitants of Beit-Shemesh and of Beit-`Anat became subject to forced labor.

34. The Amori forced the children of Dan into the hill country; for they would not allow them to come down to the valley;

35. but the Amori would dwell in Mount Cheres, in Ayalon, and in Sha`alvim: yet the hand of the house of Yosef prevailed, so that they became subject to forced labor.

36. The border of the Amori was from the ascent of `Akrabbim, from the rock, and upward.

Judges 1

Jdg 1:1. After the death of Joshua — Not long after it; for Othniel, the first judge, lived in Joshua’s time. Asked the Lord — Being assembled together at Shiloh, they inquired of the high-priest by the Urim and the Thummim. Against the Canaanites first — Finding their people multiply exceedingly, and consequently the necessity of enlarging their quarters, they renew the war. They do not inquire who shall be captain-general to all the tribes; but what tribe shall first undertake the expedition, that, by their success, the other tribes might be encouraged to make the like attempts upon the Canaanites in their several lots.

Jdg 1:2. Judah — The tribe of Judah is chosen for the first enterprise, because they were both most populous, and so most needed enlargement; and withal most valiant, and therefore most likely to succeed; for God chooseth fit means for the work which he designs. Moreover, the Canaanites were numerous and strong in those parts, and therefore it was necessary they should be suppressed before they grew too strong for them.

Jdg 1:3. Judah said unto Simeon — As nearest to him, both by relation, being his brother by both parents, and by habitation. Come up with me against the Canaanites — Which people, with the Perizzites, still possessed a considerable part of the lot which fell to Judah. And I will likewise go with thee — To drive the Canaanites out of that part of the country which was the portion of Simeon. So Simeon went with him — They joined their forces together in this expedition, under the conduct, no doubt, of some eminent leader.

Jdg 1:4. Judah went up — The people of that tribe were principally concerned in this expedition, and therefore are only mentioned, though those of the tribe of Simeon went up with them. And the Lord delivered, &c. — We meet with no such pious expression (which occurs often here) in any heathen writer. In them every success is attributed to the conduct and valour of the generals, or the strength and courage of the forces; but in the Scriptures every success is attributed to God only. They slew them in Bezek — Not in the city, for that was not yet taken, (Jdg 1:5,) but in the territory of it.

Jdg 1:5-6. Adoni-bezek in Bezek — He was the king or lord of that place, as his name imports, and, as it appears, he had fled into it for safety when he had lost the field. They fought against him — That is, against the city wherein he had taken refuge, and against the rest of his army. Cut off his thumbs and great toes — That he might be incapable of war hereafter, being rendered unable to handle arms, or to run swiftly. This severe treatment had been practised upon other kings by himself, as appears, by his own confession, in the next verse, which, it is probable, made the Israelites think it reasonable to serve him in the same way: and perhaps they acted by the direction of God in the matter.

Jdg 1:7. Threescore and ten kings — Anciently each ruler of a city or great town was called a king, and had kingly power in that place; and many such kings we meet with in Canaan; and it is probable that, some years before, kings had been more numerous there, till the greater destroyed many of the less. Add to this, that it is likely some of these seventy kings had reigned in one and the same place, and had successively opposed him. Have gathered their meat under my table — An act of barbarous inhumanity, thus to insult over the miserable, joined with abominable luxury. So that it appears, by his own confession, he had been proud and insolent, as well as cruel, to a most high degree; and therefore what befell him may well be considered, which indeed he acknowledges, as a just punishment inflicted upon him by the order of Divine Providence. As I have done, so hath God requited me — This, his acknowledgment of God’s justice in his punishment, hath made some think he became a penitent and convert to the true religion. He speaks not of gods, as was customary with the heathen, but of God, in the singular number; and this appearance of penitence and faith in the true God might possibly be the reason why the Israelites spared his life.

Jdg 1:8-10. Judah had fought against Jerusalem, and taken it — Yet some of the inhabitants retired into the castle, and held out there till David’s time. Judah went against the Canaanites in Hebron — Under the conduct of Caleb, as is recorded Jos 15:14, &c., for that relation and this are doubtless one and the same expedition, and it is mentioned there by anticipation.

Jdg 1:16. The children of the Kenite — Jethro, Moses’s father-in-law, seems to have been called a Kenite from the people from whom he was descended, Num 24:21-22. His posterity, it appears, came into Canaan with the Israelites, and were settled there with them. Went up from the city of palm-trees — That is, from Jericho, so called, Deu 34:3; not indeed the city, which had been destroyed; but the territory belonging to it, where, it seems, they were seated in a most pleasant, fruitful, and safe place, according to the promise made by Moses to their father, Num 10:31-32; and whence they might remove either to avoid the neighbouring Canaanites, or out of love to the children of Judah. In the south of Arad — The southern part of the land of Canaan, where Arad was, Num 21:1. And dwelt among the people — Hebrew, that people; namely, those children of Judah that lived there.

Jdg 1:17. Judah went with Simeon — According to their promise, Jdg 1:3, and the laws of justice and gratitude: having finished, as far as they were able, the conquest of what belonged to the tribe of Judah, they went to assist the Simeonites to acquire the possession of what was comprehended in their lot. The name of the city was called Hormah — Either the same place, so called Num 21:3; in which case what was there vowed is here executed; or some other place called by the same name upon the like occasion, which seems more probable.

Jdg 1:18. Judah also took Gaza, Askelon, and Ekron — These three cities were in the country of the Philistines, upon the sea-coast, and the Israelites did not hold them long before the Philistines recovered them again. For as the Israelites contented themselves with taking these cities, and making the people tributary without destroying them, it was not difficult for them to regain their liberty.

Jdg 1:19. Could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley — Because of their unbelief, through which they distrusted God’s power to destroy those who had chariots of iron, and so gave way to their own fear and sloth, whereby God was provoked to withdraw his helping hand.

Jdg 1:22-25. The house of Joseph — That is, the tribe of Ephraim. Show us the entrance into the city — That is, where it may be most easily entered. For they did not inquire the way to the gate, which, no doubt, was common and plain enough; but for the weakest part, where the walls were lowest, or most out of repair, or had the least guard. Or they desired him, perhaps, to show them some private way to get into it, which none knew but the inhabitants. He showed them the entrance — Upon which, we may suppose, notice was immediately sent to the army, which lay near. They smote the city — Came upon them suddenly, and attacked them where they least expected it; so that the assailants met with little resistance.

Jdg 1:26. The man went and built a city — Which is an argument that the children of Ephraim dismissed him and his family, with all their goods and estate. The land of the Hittites — Where the Hittites fixed themselves after they were driven out of Canaan, which seems to have been northward from Canaan, and not far distant from it.

Jdg 1:27. Neither did Manasseh, &c. — That is, that half of this tribe which dwelt in Canaan. Beth-shean — A place near Jordan, Jos 17:11. Taanach — Of which see Jos 12:21. Dor — A great town, with large territories, Jos 11:2; Jos 12:23. Megiddo — A royal city, Jos 12:21; Jos 17:11. But the Canaanites would dwell in the land — Namely, by force or agreement. So that it appears, although, during the life of Joshua, the Israelites had conducted themselves with a great degree of bravery, and had expelled several bodies of the Canaanites; yet, after his death, they became pusillanimous and remiss in driving them out, and made peace with them, which was the first step of their defection.

Jdg 1:28. When Israel was strong they put the Canaanites to tribute — Herein they violated the law, whereby they were enjoined to destroy or expel that people when they were able. And as they were strong enough to impose tribute on them, they undoubtedly might have driven them entirely out of the land. But it cost them less trouble, and brought them more profit, to make them tributaries, than to expel them; and therefore they preferred it, being influenced by sloth and covetousness. And this seems to be here spoken of as their common fault at this time.

Jdg 1:29. Neither did Ephraim drive out the Canaanites — So far from it, that it appears they did not so much as exact any tribute from them, but made a covenant of friendship with them, which was a still greater crime. The Canaanites dwelt in Gezer — Which they possessed till Solomon’s time; 1Ki 9:6. And to dwell among a people often signifies to have a quiet settlement, as 2Ki 4:13.

Jdg 1:32. The Asherites dwelt among the Canaanites — This manner of speaking seems to imply that these Canaanites still remained the lords of the country, and that the Asherites were only permitted to dwell among the Canaanites, who certainly appear to have paid them no tribute, and to have owed them no subjection.

Jdg 1:34-35. They would not suffer them to come down into the valley — That is, into the plain country; which was the occasion of that expedition for the obtaining of territory elsewhere, of which we read Jos 19:47, and Jdg 18:2. The hand of the house of Joseph prevailed — That is, of the Ephraimites, who helped their brethren the Danites against the Amorites.

Jdg 1:36. From the going up to Akrabbim — Which was in the southern part of Canaan, Jos 15:2-3, from whence it went up toward the north. This is added to show the great power and large extent of this people.

Hebrew Names Version

The Hebrew Names Version is in the public domain.